Timothy John "Tim" Ryan is the U.S. Representative for Ohio's 13th congressional district, serving since 2003. The district, numbered as the 17th district from 2003 to 2013, takes in a large swath of northeast Ohio, from Youngstown to Akron.
• Chris Smith (Christopher Henry "Chris" Smith is the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 4th congressional dis...)
• Jimmy Wong (James Franklin Wong is an American actor, musician, and filmmaker. He maintains three YouTube cha...)
• Anthony Bourdain (Anthony Michael Bourdain is an American chef, author, and television personality. He is a 1978 gr...)» All U.S. Representative Interviews
My name is Congressman Tim Ryan, and I am a candidate for House Democratic Leader.
I decided to run for this position to provide every American with a stronger and more prosperous economic future and fight against the policies and rhetoric of fear and division that we have seen coming from the Trump administration and Republican-led Congress.
Democrats are at a crossroads. We are severely outnumbered at the worst possible time in our country’s political history. Not since the 1920s has a Democratic Leader other than Nancy Pelosi presided over a smaller caucus. We are the only ones left standing as a bulwark against the very worst instincts of President-elect Trump and decisive Republican majorities.
The people I represent in Northeast Ohio and the tens of millions of workers across our country are proud to be called blue collar. They have an expectation that a job will be good enough to provide a middle-class life and an expectation of being able to send their kids to college—the American Dream. When we talk about Democrats’ failure with working-class voters, we need to consider that one-third of America’s working class is made up of people of color, while six in ten Latinos and over half of African Americans consider themselves working class. If we don’t connect with an economic message, we risk alienating many of the most loyal elements of our party.
I look forward to hearing from the Reddit community today-- If you'd like to learn more about my campaign for Democratic House Leader or would like to get involved, please sign up here: http://bit.ly/ryanforleader
My Proof: http://imgur.com/a/SdVdF
UPDATE (6:30PM EST): I will begin answering your questions at 7PM and will wrap up at 8PM.
UPDATE (8:01PM EST): Thank you all for your thoughtful questions. I enjoyed our conversation this evening.
Congressman Ryan, I'll preface this with: I hope you actually answer the tough questions I am going put forth below.
Your stance on fracking:
> First and foremost, we got to make sure the technology is right. I have no interest in polluting anybody's water. My environmental record I will put up against anybody in the Congress. So, I'm very concerned we got to do it the right.
> If people own the property and have (water) wells, we've got to be concerned about that and we got to make sure the regulations are in place before we do anything on this.
> Buy there is great opportunity now because the number 1 threat to our world is global warming. Having clean, accessible natural gas can transform our economy and reduce our dependency on foreign oil, which we are doing now.
> It's a clean fuel. It's jobs here in the United States and it reduces our dependency on foreign oil, so we can wind these wars down and get out of Afghanistan and get out of Iraw, and use that money to invest back into the United States.
The phrase from politicians: "we've got to be concerned about that" is essentially "I'm going to do it anyway".
You also use the classic Right wing talking point of "reducing our dependency on foreign oil"
Scientists have also concluded that there is no such thing as "Clean fuel" or "Clean oil".
My first question is, how can you claim to put your environmental record up against anybody in Congress when there are people who are far superior in terms of moving away from our dependency on Fossil Fuels?
Your stance on abortion:
> In 2015 Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), a longtime opponent of abortion, announced in an op-ed that he now supports abortion rights after having talked to women in difficult circumstances throughout his home state.
> "I have sat with women from Ohio and across the nation and heard them talk about their varying experiences: abusive relationships, financial hardship, health scares, rape and incest. These women gave me a better understanding of how complex and difficult certain situations can become. And while there are people of good conscience on both sides of this argument, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: the heavy hand of government must not make this decision for women and families."
> Ryan, who was raised Catholic, has long considered himself "pro-life" and has voted for numerous abortion restrictions since he was elected to Congress in 2003, including parental notifications laws; restrictions on abortion funding in health care reform; and a ban on abortions in federally funded military hospitals. In 2009, Ryan wrote an op-ed for U.S. News and World Report underscoring the need for fellow anti-abortion lawmakers to worth with abortion rights supporters to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
My second question: Why did it take you until 2015 to empathize with a woman's right to choose? Why did it take speaking to women across the nation first hand just to understand what a woman could be going through?
My last question: Although you have never actually come out and publicly stated it, the vibe I get from your challenge of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi is that you are attempting to piggy back on the progressive political movement that was started by Senator Sanders. Some of the language you have used in your statements is indicative of such. You also claim to be a Progressive as shown on your twitter page and made through various statements.
For an actual Progressive like myself, why should I trust you to hold up my progressive values in Congress when you have, according to Opensecrets.org, had 3% of your entire donations come from "Small individual contributions" (aka the standard American person) while 96% of your money raised is either from PACs or "Large individual contributions" in inclusion with the above stated issues?
EDIT: Since we are officially 20 minutes into this AMA I want to address the fact that you have ignored my questions (the highest upvoted ones in the thread): This is exactly why the American people are fed up with the Government. Standard typical responses or completely ignored when pressed on any issues that have semblance of controversy. I'll give you the remaining 40 minutes to address my questions, but should they go unanswered you can bet that I, while only 1 person, will be against your bid for House minority leader and I will actively support any real progressive that runs in your district. The American public is tired of Establishment politicians who live by their talking points. Realize that or get replaced, whether it be Democrat or Republican.
Question 1: Natural gas combustion releases half the CO2 compared to oil, reduces our dependency on foreign oil, and--because it’s “homegrown”--provides good jobs for a lot of people. If we could rely solely on renewables today, I would do everything in my power to make it happen. However, the technology and efficiency is simply not there. I see natural gas as a bridge to those renewables, which also can wean down our dependence on oil and coal, which are much dirtier fossil fuels. I have a record of supporting the Clean Power Plan, and strong oversight and regulations on hydraulic fracturing.
Question 2. 2015 is when I wrote the oped, but I’ve had a perfect voting record with NARAL for the last 6+ years.
Where do you stand relative to other Democrats on the TPP?
Being from Northeast Ohio, I have seen firsthand the negative impact trade can have on communities around our country. I am very strongly opposed to TPP and for year I have been a vocal opponent of this trade agreement.
Do you support a Medicare-for-All style single-payer health care system? If not, could you please explain what you propose instead and why
I whole-heartily support Medicare or all and I am a cosponsor of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act in the House
Hey guys. Just got here. I'm ready to start answering your questions. Keep them coming!
An important role for the party leader is to raise money. Nancy Pelosi is an unparalleled fundraiser for Democrats. How would you plan to match or exceed her fundraising success?
Solid question. No one can deny that Nancy is a phenomenal fundraiser, but if money was the only problem, Hillary Clinton would be the President and Democrats would be in the majority. It's our message, not our fundraising, that's hurting us in these elections. We need someone who can walk into both a Union Hall, a church, and a fundraiser in Napa Valley, and I can do that. I will use all my energy to travel this country to help raise money for Democrats.
Hey Tim, Youngstown born and raised here, what is it you believe you can do better than Nancy Pelosi in what i think is the Dems biggest challenge, voter turnout?
PS - Great job at the Betras Roast
We need to get voters engaged again in the Democratic process. We need to let voters know that we understand their frustration and disillusionment by going to their communities and listening to what they have to say. We need to let voters know that we hear them and we need to speak to their anxieties regarding the economic and social adversity they are facing.
Hi Tim, Thank you for all of your work here in Ohio. What can Ohio residents do to help?
Thank you for your support. If you’d like, you can always call your Democratic Representative and let them know why you think a change in House Democratic Leadership would benefit the Party. Also use our hashtag #Dems4Change to let your friends know what you think!
There has been enormous focus on what the campaign did wrong, but what are a few things you think it did right and would like to see continued/improved moving forward?
Great point. Something I am proud of in the campaign is that we brought a lot of new voters into the process who never participated in elections before. I am also proud of the positive, optimistic view of America that Secretary Clinton advocated for. Even in defeat, Hillary was (and is) an inspiration to millions of girls across this country and for that, especially as a father, I am grateful.
What specific policies do you propose to address the greivances of the working class? Do you support a $15 minimum wage? How would the Democratic Party support labor unions under your leadership? Provide specific policies please, with as much detail you can afford. If possible cite bills you support
I am from Northeast Ohio, which was built on the back of the hardworking men and women, many of whom are in labor unions. They are the backbone of our country -- our teachers, police officers, steelworkers, and autoworkers. I believe the Democratic party must do everything we can to keep our unions strong and secure - protecting their pensions, healthcare, and wages. That includes pushing for a $15 minimum wage.
Republicans seem to have done very well for themselves by being an obstructionist party. Do you think Democrats would benefit from employing the same tactics? If so or not, why?
Look, if Trump and the Republican Party want to pass an agenda that will kick people off their healthcare, defund Planned Parenthood, gut Medicare, and roll back civil liberties Democrats will do everything in our power to stop that agenda.
Who do you think should chair the Democratic National Committee, and would you support whoever that person is in seeking a fresh start for the DNC after the controversies surrounding it during the past year?
The Chair of the DNC is a very important position and I take that election seriously. As of right now there are two candidates, but I am hearing more names floated everyday, including a rumor that Joe Biden might jump into the race. The election isn't until February and I am going to continue follow the race as it progresses.
I'm intrigued by the idea of new leadership for House Democrats after 14 years. However, it seems that many in the caucus are reluctant to vote for anyone other than Rep. Pelosi. With so little time to campaign, how do you envision garnering enough support to win?
Good question. As I’ve said many times, this is a lot like the family conversations we all have to have from time to time. It is tough, it probably should have been had sooner, but here we are. I have nothing but admiration for Nancy Pelosi, but the question boils down to are we winning...and we’re not. That is what I’m telling my colleagues. I think there’s a real appetite for change in the Democratic Caucus and all I can do is plead my case and hope they agree.
Hi Tim Thanks for seizing the time and stepping up to help the party provide new leadership. Your ideas on America 2.0 and focusing on advanced manufacturing are right on to me. Can you also share your thoughts about how we can lead in job creation in fields like engineering, IT etc. where we have seen opportunities for college grads in those fields diminish due to the same offshoring that has impacted manufacturing?
To revive the economy and create jobs, we have to support investment in innovation and new technologies. In my district, Youngstown is home to America Makes, a public-private partnership that works to accelerate additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies, a new frontier in American manufacturing. America Makes serves as the model for future innovation hubs that will help grow the number of good-paying, high-tech jobs available to American workers in our district and across the country. By advocating for additional federal support for the industry through the budget and appropriations process, I’ve championed the cause of protecting the manufacturing sector and investing in its future. That’s the kind of champion I’ll be as Minority Leader, always focused on leveling the playing field for American workers and manufacturers with their global competitors.
What is your plan to win back the House in 2 years?
Great question. I believe that Democrats already have the right message. We’re the party of equal rights for all and creating ladders of opportunity for working people. The key to winning back the House is to have the right messengers to talk directly to the American people. My plan is a robust 50-state strategy that gets all members of our Caucus involved. We need to send the best and brightest stars of our party into swing states and swing districts to listen and show voters how our agenda will make their lives better. We have so much untapped talent in our party, and my goal is to show those one and two-time Obama voters who went for Trump that the Democratic Party is still for them.
Thanks for doing this AmA. How do you plan on convincing the state of Ohio that Democrats have a better path forward than Republicans? This goes nationally as well if you're made Minority Leader, how will you convince a group of people who voted for a sexist reality star that they can trust our party to represent their interests?
Again, thank you from an out-of-state Ohioan.
Thanks for having me! Look, I think we need to resist the urge to paint all Trump voters with a broad stroke. Did some who voted that way do so because of some form of prejudice? You bet. And we need to do everything we can to banish those biased viewpoints. I choose to believe that the majority of Trump voters turned out because of economic factors. If Democrats can effectively reclaim the mantle of being the party of the working class, I think we’ll be successful. America is fundamentally good, and even though Mr. Trump represents a lot of our worst instincts, most Americans, not even most voters, endorsed his fear-mongering vision of the United States.
Hi Congressman Ryan!
I work for an abortion provider in Cleveland. Obviously, we're very worried about the future of abortion access in the hands of the incoming administration. Can you explain how you would work to protect and expand abortion access as the House Democratic Leader?
Great to hear from you and thank you for the work you do everyday! I believe that the federal government should not play a role when it comes to a woman’s reproductive health. The decisions that have to be made are just too personal. They should only involve a woman and her doctor, not politicians. That’s why I have received a 100% rating from both Planned Parenthood and NARAL. I believe Democrats must do everything in our power to fight back against Republican efforts to limit a woman’s right to choose and access to life-saving preventive health services, and I will be a vocal champion for these rights as Minority Leader.
You can check out the oped I wrote a couple years ago on my stance on abortion here: http://www.ohio.com/editorial/tim-ryan-why-i-changed-my-thinking-on-abortion-1.561970
Please give your 50 state strategy a good and memorable name. The Contract for America was theirs but it's memorable.
I love the idea. Im open to suggestions. What do you guys got...
Do you pledge to do everything in your power to stop Trump from creating racist, bigoted, ignorant, ecologically dangerous policies? And I mean everything. To obstructing exactly the way the Republicans have the last 8 years. In other words will the Democrats grow a spine and some stones for once?
Absolutely. Trump’s hateful rhetoric and proposed policies have no place in our country. This week I announced that Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, and Steve Bannon will not be welcomed in my office if I am elected Minority Leader; and I will fight every day to prevent the Trump Administration’s destructive ideas and hate filled language from tearing our country further apart.